While genuine licorice root has a long history in herbal medicine and can be found today in natural licorice candies like the Finnish Panda brand, whole licorice extract is one of the stronger acting medicinals and is not appropriate for everyone (pregnant women or people with high blood pressure, for example). Most commercial black licorice is actually flavored with the extract of another herb: anise seed. Its flavor is a bit sharper than licorice root, perhaps more “like licorice” than licorice.
Similar in appearance and texture to a molasses spice cookie, these are soft and chewy, with intense aroma and flavor. Don’t be afraid to use the whole wheat pastry flour. Its fine texture disappears into the cookie, and its retained nutrients help metabolize the carbohydrates a bit (yes, they are sweet, so as tempting as it may be, don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting.)
2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp sea salt
3/4 cup butter, softened (or ½ cup butter, ¼ cup semi solid flavor neutral coconut oil)
½ cup organic dark brown sugar
¼ cup organic unrefined sugar + additional ¼ cup sugar for topping cookies (Note: do not use turbinado sugar. Its crystal is far too large)
1 large egg
4 tsp anise extract
½ cup blackstrap molasses
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium size bowl; set aside.
Cream butter (and coconut oil if using it) together with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, anise extract, and molasses, mixing well.
Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture and stir just enough to combine.
Place remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar into a shallow dish.
Shape dough into balls, using about 2 tbsp for each one.
Roll balls of dough in sugar and place each one on parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheet. Spacing should be about 2 inches apart.
Bake between 11-12 minutes. Cookies should appear somewhat under-cooked, with the edges looking baked, while the inside is still puffed up and soft to the touch. Let them cool for 3-5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet with a large spatula to place on a cooling rack. It is very important NOT to overbake these cookies. Once they cool, the texture should be cracked and chewy, almost like a brownie.